Climate and the distribution of cooperative breeding in mammals
Lukas, Dieter https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7141-3545
Clutton-Brock, Timothy https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8110-8969
Cooperative breeding systems, in which non-breeding individuals provide care for the offspring of dominant group members, occur in less than 1% of mammals and are associated with social monogamy and the production of multiple offspring per birth (polytocy). Here, we show that the distribution of alloparental care by non-breeding subordinates is associated with habitats where annual rainfall is low. A possible reason for this association is that the females of species found in arid environments are usually polytocous and this may have facilitated the evolution of alloparental care.
Online Publication Date
cooperative breeding, rainfall, sociality, phylogenetic comparison
Royal Society Open Science
Royal Society Publishing
European Research Council (294494)
This project was funded by the European Research Commission (grant no. 294494-THCB2011).